Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Is An Environmental Impact Statement Necessary?

Environmental ImpactImage by Waleed Alzuhair via FlickrBy Wendy Moyer

In 1969, as a result of the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), environmental impact statements became a requirement in the United States for any project or any action that the federal government would be involved in that could have an effect on the environment. An environmental impact statement (EIS) is even required if all that the federal government has to do is issue a license for an activity or a facility.

The primary purpose of an EIS is as a device that forces action that will insure that the goals and policies defined by the NEPA are infused into the federal government's ongoing actions and programs.

The NEPA mandates that environmental impact statements are required for all environmentally significant projects that are federally controlled. In addition to being a requirement when a license has to be issued by the government, an EIS would be required if a project receives federal funding.

Who Is Responsible for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement?

The federal agency that controls the project is responsible for the preparation of an EIS. If an agency is sufficiently staffed and has the technical expertise, then it can prepare its own environmental impact statement. This typically happens when an agency is the direct designer of a project and when it will be the entity responsible for implementing the plan.

However, federal agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, those with licensing power, are required to hire environmental organizations in the private sector to prepare their environmental reports. These reports are usually submitted during the license application process.

How Can the Public Participate in the Process?

The NEPA stipulated that environmental impact statements should be made available to the public, the President, the Council on Environmental Quality, and federal, state, and local authorities. The Council on Environmental Quality guidelines imply that the agency that is responsible for the EIS is also responsible for holding public meetings if any of the proposed projects foster strong interest or debate.

These agencies also are responsible for providing information to the public about how they can participate in the EIS review process. As such, any parties that are interested can get in touch with the responsible agency in order to add their contact information to the mailing list for the apropos environmental impact statement.

Then the involved agency has to allow enough time for public comments before they publish a final environmental impact statement. It is likely that this final EIS will include both the comments as well as the agency's replies to the comments.

And to find out more about the NEPA and Environmental Organizations go to http://commonground.edrnet.com/pages/0a5d38ee2d/pages/3b8b026878

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Wendy_Moyer
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